July 24, 2015 Weekly Round Up

It’s been a beautiful week here in the Texas Panhandle!  Here are some ag law stories making headlines this week.

* Missouri Suing USDA Over Crop Insurance Deadline.  On Wednesday, Missouri filed suit against the USDA, seeking the delay of a reporting deadline related to crop insurance. [To view the Complaint, click here.] Due to recent rains and flooding, it is estimated that 60% of Missouri farmers did not have their crop planted by the deadline, which is required in order to file acreage reports necessary to obtain crop insurance.  Prior to filing suit, Governor Jay Nixon requested that USDA extend the deadline, but his request was denied.  According to reports, the lawsuit seeks only an additional 15 days to allow farmers to file their acreage reports.  Missouri argues that the USDA’s deadline is arbitrary and capricious, and therefore improper under federal law.  [Read article here.]

* Shoe Is on the Other Foot for PETA.  We’ve seen numerous “undercover investigations” by PETA and other activist groups in recent years whereby PETA members obtain employment on ag operations.  Oftentimes, the activists allegedly gain employment through false information, alter videos, fail to timely report animal abuse, and incite illegal and harmful actions by other employees.  This week, we’ve seen the shoe on the other foot.  A Sea World employee went undercover to pose as a PETA activist.  The employee allegedly alerted law enforcement to planned PETA rallies and tried to incite other PETA members to illegal actions.  Not surprisingly, PETA was not impressed.  [Read article here.]

*  Farmers Prefer Older Tractors with Less Technology?  Todd Janzen wrote a great blog post this week asking why sales of new farm equipment are down while prices for good used equipment are up.  Certainly high prices of new machinery is part of the answer, but Janzen asks whether farmers might actually prefer the older tractors with less technology?  Thought provoking for sure.  [Read blog post here.]  And, so you can see where my family falls on the spectrum, here is the tractor my father gave my husband and I for Mother’s Day.

1970’s model industrial John Deere. Runs like a champ.


* Checklist for Reviewing Your Estate Plan.  Market Watch recently published a 14-point checklist to use when reviewing (or creating) an estate plan.  [Read article here.]

*  Could Your Child’s Spouses Second Husband Inherit the Farm?  It’s not as far fetched as you might think. Farm Futures published a short, but interesting article discussing the issue of unintended beneficiaries of estate plans.  In particular, the article uses the example of what would happen if the family farm was left to the farmer’s children in equal shares, and then one of those children were to die, leaving his estate to his wife.  The wife, then, would be an equal owner of the farm.  Were she to remarry and leave her estate to her new husband, at her death, the new husband could be an equal owner in the farm.  This reminds us of the importance of carefully thinking through an estate plan and farm ownership.  [Read article here.]

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